I love Romans 8:1. Having Romans 8:1  memorized regularly helps me combat condemnation.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Yet, if we believe this is true, why are so many of us living condemned?

Have you ever stopped to look at where Romans 8:1 sits?  It sits, interestingly enough, between Romans 7:25 and Romans 8:2. 🙂

Romans 7:25 is the tail end of the section Paul wrote about not understanding his own actions… about not doing the good he wants to do, but instead doing the evil he does not want to do (Romans 7:7-25).

Then, before he turns to the section beginning in Romans 8:2 which helps us recognize life controlled by the Spirit (life which is pleasing to God), he pauses at Romans 8:1 to remind us  that we are no longer condemned.

Why?

Why did Paul think (and, by inference, since the Bible was written by holy men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, why did God think) we needed to hear this right then?

I think (and I am neither God nor a Holy Man inspired by God to write infallible scripture) God knew the potential exists for us to come to Romans 8:9, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” and question whether or not we belong to him. I think he knew we might experience the struggle of Romans 7:7-25 and despair. I think he knew that our hearts, awakened by His Spirit, would want to please him and we might see our continuing struggle, read Romans 8:8, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God,” and begin to doubt our ability to please him… to doubt his indwelling presence in our hearts.

I need to know I am not condemned.

I need to know His Spirit convicts me of my sin to draw me to the righteousness He enables… to guide me into truth and obedience (John 16:4-15). I need to know the conviction that draws me to repentance and fellowship with God, not the condemnation that drives me to despair and away from the presence of God.

Knowing Romans 8:1 frees me to understand the difference between the right conviction of the Holy Spirit and the wrong condemnation of the devil.

The Holy Spirit convicts me for the purpose of restoration. Satan condemns me for the purpose of destruction.

God wants us brought back into fellowship with him, using our gifts for His glory and to build up his bride, the church. Satan wants us divided from God, ineffective for the Kingdom, tearing down our brothers and sisters within the church.

Conviction is delivered with hope in Christ. Condemnation arrives with despair in our failure.

Conviction hinges on truth. Condemnation swings on feelings.

Conviction reminds us our debt has been paid by Christ and our victory is based in the power of the Spirit. Condemnation accuses us of failing to repay and our value is based on our ability to perform in our own strength.

Conviction speaks truth: Our sin is heinously wrong and injures God above all (Psalm 51:4). Our sin does deserve death, but God has given us life through Christ (Romans 6:23) and our sin no longer separates us from Him (Romans 8:38-39).  Condemnation lies: Satan would have us believe our sin can separate us from God in an irreparable way.

Conviction is specific and clearly prompts us to repent, offering hope and promising increasing victory in this life and ultimate victory in the life to come. Condemnation is vague and leads us to a general feeling of guilt, failure, and unending despair.

Today you can stop living condemned.

Take some time to meditate on Romans 8:1 today. Where are you living condemned? Repent of your unbelief and cling to the promises of Christ. Speak this truth into your heart today any time you are overwhelmed by the weight of your guilt:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1